This is the story about how the government was formed in Meghalaya in the latest election and the chain of events that led BJP from winning just two seats to forming a Government.
Coalition government – This is a form of government where two or more parties, which have almost lost their hopes to achieve the majority, come together and cooperate, in order to diminish the preponderance of the party, who hoped to get majority votes.
The Headlines: NPP to form the government in Meghalaya with the help of others. As per the aftermath of the recent elections in Meghalaya on February 27th, it represented a hung-house situation, which basically kept Congress and NPP (National People’s Party) in the race.
Elaborating Hung House/Parliament, the party (or coalition of parties) that has a majority in the House of Representatives forms the government. Suppose if there are a total of 100 seats, it requires a party to win 51 seats. If none of the parties secure more than half of the total seats, it is a ‘hung house’.
HOW DID THINGS GO: THE STORY
The National People’s Party (NPP) effused reliance that the party would be forming the next government in Meghalaya. They said that the people of the Northeastern state were looking for a variation from the continual party government.
February 27 elections, the results were out to a hung House for the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly.
NPP President Conrad Sangma said that his party with the help of other accordingly – inclined parties would be able to form the next government.
He also said – “We are hopeful that we will be able to form the government. People are fed up with the corrupt Congress government and they are now looking for a change”
THE PART OF CONGRESS
Congress has governed the state for 10 years. They have emerged as the single largest party securing 21 seats. The voting that took place on February 27, Congress was followed by its foremost opponent, National People’s Party (NPP), securing 19 seats out of the total of 59 seats.
After which, the Congress rushed senior leaders Ahmed Patel and Kamal Nath to Shillong to work out possible tie-ups with Independent candidates to form a government.
If we render trifling faith in NPP insiders, Meghalaya may get its first woman chief minister with the party cogitating to float the name of former Union minister Agatha Sangma, daughter of P.A. Sangma.
The NPP combated the elections on its own but along with this, it has an understanding with the BJP and some regional parties. The BJP won two seats as compared no seat in 2013.
“People are fed up with the corrupt Congress government and are looking for a change,” said Conrad Sangma, who rushed to Shillong where all the newly-elected MLAs were reaching to start the process of government formation.
Chief minister Mukul Sangma got disappointed when he realized that the Congress failed to cross the figure of 29. When he was asked about how the Congress will hold back power, he said that – “The results are not on expected lines, but I am still looking forward… I would like to keep my cards close to my chest”.
As the other regional parties were unwilling to strike a deal with the Congress to form a new government, the trump card was with them. Regional parties. The BJP has asked Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to rush to Meghalaya for holding talks with smaller parties and Independents.
“Our common cause is to oust the Congress which has a string of misdeeds and we have given Mukul Sangma enough time,” he had said.
Meghalaya witnessed around 84 percent voting in total. It is now looking forward to elections for three more seats.
1. Where election was countermanded due to the death of a candidate in an improvised explosive device blast.
2. The other wherein Conrad Sangma will have to be elected.
3. The third to the seat that will have to be abandoned by the outgoing chief minister, Mukul Sangma.
He won from two seats, Ampati and Songsak. The NPP might go on to add more Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to its clique. The parties in the new Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government include the United Democratic Party (UDP) with six seats, the Peoples’ Democratic Front (PDF) with four seats and the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with two seats each. Two independents have also joined the coalition, which was supposed to be three previously. Polling in Williamnagar constituency was countermanded following the death of NCP candidate in an IED blast.
OUTLANDISH INCLINATION IN THE ELECTIONS
This election exhibited violence when a candidate, Jonathone N Sangma, from Williamnagar constituency of Garo Hills Meghalaya was killed along with his three supporters. This was allegedly triggered by the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), a militant outfit active in the Garo Hills for a long while.
The GNLA is administered by Sohan D Shira. He is a self-proclaimed bigwig there who had managed to evade police arrest several times repeatedly. This is the reason that the GNLA has reigned the south and east of Garo hills.
The commotion created by the BJP is also unprecedented from previous times, both during the ongoing of elections as well as when the results were declared.
The BJP established its think tank in Shillong for a period of about two months. They quested the cracks in the armor of the voters.
But a major drawback was that they failed to experience the delicacies that propel the crowd to the polling booth for electing their representatives.
The amount of money spent in these elections by all the different parties was immoderate. It is being said that the parties who had a superfluous amount of money won whereas the ones who did not, had to suffer the defeat. This also meant that some of the more discerning and articulate MLAs from the regional parties lost to their rivals. However, it must be acknowledged that the regional parties are profoundly disintegrated.
The post-election course of action
The newly modeled government has a lot to take care of. While they are all enthusiastic about taking the charge of administration and management, the treasuries are almost empty. Like the most of north-eastern states, Meghalaya is also screened by the issue of unemployment. According to the statistics, there are more than a lac school-dropouts and there is no plan on how to incorporate those people into the sectors and areas that require only skills and formulate their training programs.
This is going to be Conrad Sangma’s second tour of duty in state politics. Previously, he had been the finance minister in the non-Congress, Meghalaya Progressive Alliance government in 2008–09. It was a short-lived government, not only that, but all non-Congress governments have been short in Meghalaya, hence the state could not benefit from his astute handling of the finance department. People are hoping that this government does not meet a similar fate and is able to withstand the pressures of political skullduggery—a common feature of Meghalaya politics.
But under the watchful gaze of Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam’s finance minister and the BJP’s troubleshooter in the North East and the master strategist whose brainchild the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) is, cracks in the current form are unlikely to be allowed to develop.
The elections in Meghalaya and the subsequent results with the Government formation show a strategic shift in the paradigm of coalition politics. The popular mandate of the people in a way seems to have no effect on the Government to be formed however stability also remains a prime objective. Given these peculiar situations, it must be wise to say that hung Parliaments can lead to extremely uncertain ways in which Government takes shape and the BJP with its two members has shown how exactly this can be done. Having said that, the role of National Politics over state elections seems to get clearer. With the BJP in power at the center, it had more leverage in the Government formation and they used it at the right place. The uncertain ways of politics are here to stay, no matter how detrimental it may seem.
– Anjali Chaudhary
Content Writer @ Legal Bites